Bloggers to claim trial over roles in Hong Lim Park protest

Bloggers to claim trial over roles in Hong Lim Park protest

Bloggers Roy Ngerng Yi Ling and Han Hui Hui intend to claim trial to charges against them for their roles in a Hong Lim Park protest on Sept 27 last year.

The other four accused in the case, meanwhile, are hoping to get off with a stern warning.

This was discussed yesterday at the case's third pre-trial conference, a closed-door hearing for the prosecution and defence to discuss administrative matters.

A fourth pre-trial conference has been fixed for Feb 13.

Lawyer M. Ravi, who is representing Ngerng, 33, and Han, 23, told reporters after yesterday's hearing that the trial will likely start in April.

He previously represented all six accused, but the cases against the other four have been taken up by lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam since Dec 10.

The four are Janet Low Wai Choo, 54, Chua Siew Leng, 43, Goh Aik Huat, 41, and Ivan Koh Yew Beng, 59. Mr Thuraisingam told The Straits Times yesterday: "We made representations on Jan 6 to the Attorney-General's Chambers to ask that they consider, and agree, to withdraw the charges against my four clients and instead give them a stern warning."

He said the prosecutors at yesterday's hearing had asked for more time to consider the matter.

Both Mr Ravi and Mr Thuraisingam had collaborated in the past on similar cases - for instance, that of alleged hacker James Raj Arokiasamy, which is pending.

Mr Thuraisingam also represented Mr Ravi before a disciplinary tribunal for professional misconduct last year.

Each of the six accused was charged in October last year with being a public nuisance, which carries a fine of up to $1,000.

Han and Ngerng also face one charge of organising a demonstration without approval, which carries a maximum fine of $5,000.

The six are accused of disrupting the YMCA Proms @ The Park charity event for special needs children, held in Hong Lim Park at the same time as the Return Our CPF rally that Han and Ngerng had co-organised.

Their demonstration at the charity event allegedly flouted the law, which states that anyone who wants to organise a demonstration is required to get approval from the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation.

Mr Ravi said yesterday he intends to launch a constitutional challenge against this requirement.

This article was first published on January 17, 2015.
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